My Turn by Reagan Brown: Assisted suicide is murder
My Turn columnist
Assisted suicide is murder justified under the name of the Death with Dignity Act. Though I may not agree with the decision to end a person’s life, whether terminally ill or not, what I am more concerned about is Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with terminal brain cancer, and the aftermath of her decision to take her own life on Nov. 1, 2014. Death with Dignity is legal only in certain states, which many people are fighting to change. Brittany’s decision has made it one step easier. She has been noted to have inspired others to take that next step and choose to die on their own terms while still having the ability to make their own decisions.
Suddenly, people diagnosed with a terminal illness want to follow others by forcing doctors to prescribe them chemicals that can end their life.
Robert Mitton, a 59-year-old man in Colorado with a failing heart, was inspired by Brittany to break his state laws and suffocate himself. This man, who plans to commit self-assisted suicide, has lived five months longer than his doctors told him he would live and also has the opportunity to receive a life-saving operation. Truly, this story shows how not in control we are of our own life. God is the only one Who has the control to give and take a person’s life. The choice to end your own life goes against what God teaches. In the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill” is clearly stated. Self-murder is a sub-point in the broad list that defines this statement.
The lines of right and wrong are becoming blurred, and people’s lives are the cost of this confusion. Sad as it may be, lives have already been lost and more are sure to follow. Nationalizing the mindset of self-assisted suicide opens up the prospect that others, who are not as sick, can use physician-assisted suicide when in fact it is not needed. Right now, only people who have a terminal illness with no mental disorders can use the physician assisted suicide. Alzheimers and Dementia are both illnesses that cause pain, debilitation and loss of control. Illnesses that cause chronic pain are debilitating to the patient and are no way exempt from being justified by physician assisted suicide. Doctors are researching for cures to many types of illnesses. Why do we need cures when we have physician assisted suicide?
Because murder is being justified for a chosen few does not mean the spectrum cannot be broadened. “That may sound far-fetched, but don’t be fooled; when a society accepts killing as a way to solve its problems, there is no end to the evil it could bring.” This statement, taken from an article written by Sarah Zagorski featuring Robert Mitton, the man with the failing heart condition, shows how dangerous a way of thinking can become. For now, any person with a terminal illness can consider the Death with Dignity Act, but this could change to include people with mental or physical disabilities. Once that bridge is burned, it will open the window to include the sick and the elderly in being able to pursue self-assisted suicide.
Because people do not consider the consequences suicide has on those around them, suicide is looked down on by many. In this same sense, how can a doctor logically justify self-assisted suicide, when in fact it is still suicide, no matter what condition the person may have. A terminally ill person could commit suicide, and no one would say their rights were being violated. Death with Dignity takes away the stigma from suicide by justifying the action for the individual even though it is still wrong. Any justification of self-assisted murder is going to have consequences. Sometimes the consequences of people’s actions are more grave than others. The consequences of justifying suicide are far bigger than you or me. Justifying self-assisted murder would allow many types of people to qualify for eligibility. Ultimately, this shift in belief could negatively affect our society, and cause many precious lives to be lost that otherwise would have enriched it.
In 2013, the number of people given prescription medication to end their life was 122, with 71 persons having the drugs administered. Since 1998, the number of patients given the medicine by a physician was incredibly more than the people who actually had the drugs administered. This begs the question: should a physician be responsible for giving the drugs that can end a life? Because if the prominent percentage of people who do not have the medicine administered live or live longer than thought with a good quality of life, why should the medicine be given? (Public Health Oregon). Mental illnesses and depression are not considered terminal to the point of being given drugs. Physician-assisted suicide is for people with terminal illnesses who do not exhibit symptoms of mental disorders.No matter what any person or people decide to name murder, it will never change the fact it is wrong.
Reagan Brown is a student at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.